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Comment: Re:Shash-job-vertisement (Score 1) 203

by crunchygranola (#48187727) Attached to: The One App You Need On Your Resume If You Want a Job At Google

Mod parent up!

I haven't used it recently, but years ago I found the Matlab language and programming environment to be terrible - very primitive (which is why I haven't used it since). Sure, it has great libraries - it should considering the cost.

Mathematica is a wonderful programming environment, with equally powerful libraries (in many areas, far more powerful), and they have brought the cost of entry way down.

Comment: Re:Fission = bad, but not super-bad (Score 1) 217

by crunchygranola (#48172417) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

...though we could increase that by an order of magnitude by developing seawater extraction technology.

Good that you mentioned seawater extraction. If we did that for uranium then we would have a 10,000 year supply at current consumption rates. If we increase nuclear power 20-fold, to 250% of world electricity production today, it is still 500 years. If we implement breeding (I suspect we could get the bugs worked out by then) we are back up to a 50,000 year supply.

Where is the necessity of thorium?

Comment: Re:advocating nuclear (fission/fusion) is an IQ te (Score 1) 217

by crunchygranola (#48172373) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

...How do you plan on creating solar panels with no energy? it costs a mountain of coal/gas/oil to produce...

Where did all the energy go? Is solar energy tainted and unusable for making new solar panels? The energy payback time for current solar technology is 3 years, and steadily dropping. It should reach 1 year over the next decade.

You can with a fusion reactor.

How? They don't exist.

Comment: Re:Closer to market (Score 2) 217

by crunchygranola (#48172311) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

Mod this guy up!

You have hit the nail on the head.

No conspiracy of hippies is keeping U.S. nuclear power off the table. Commercial ventures can get licenses if they want (and have). The issue is straight-up capitalism and profit-making business decisions -- the capital cost of a nuclear plant is very high so it is an unattractive investment as long as coal or natural gas are available.

Comment: Re:Fission = bad, but not super-bad (Score 1) 217

by crunchygranola (#48172271) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

...

Not necessarily. The most viable fusion approach does not produce neutrons as a product of the reaction. In addition, they don't need to contain and stabilize the plasma which is the bane of most fusion programs. They intend to leverage the inherent instability of plasma to produce 200 small reactions or pulses per second. They won't need steam generators since most of the energy is released in the form of an ion beam.

"Viable" roughly means "practical", the first step for something to be practical is to be able to do it. Did you read page you linked to? It admits that "Humanity hasn't figured out how to harness it yet." Actually that is a half-truth. We haven't learned how to harness convention tritum+deuterium fusion yet. But we at least can demonstrate it in a laboratory. With aneutronic thermonuclear fusion can't do it at all under any circumstances!

This isn't in a class with fairies, unicorns and pixie dust since it is based on physical principles, but it is in the same class as those elevators that take us to the Moon.

We are better off restricting energy plans to technologies that we know can be implemented this century.

Comment: Re:Fission = bad, but not super-bad (Score 3, Informative) 217

by crunchygranola (#48172177) Attached to: Fusion and Fission/LFTR: Let's Do Both, Smartly

... As I recall even thorium will only provide several centuries at 100%, though we could increase that by an order of magnitude by developing seawater extraction technology.

Good that you brought up seawater extraction technology. Using that we have enough uranium, even just using once-through burning, for something like a 10,000 year supply at current consumption rates. Increase nuclear power ten-fold (125% of current world electricity consumption) and it is still 1,000 years. If we implement breeding (we could get the bugs worked out in a few centuries I imagine) then we are back up 100,000 years or so.

Why does thorium need to enter the picture?

Comment: Re:Progressive Consumption Tax (Score 1) 832

by crunchygranola (#48161999) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

It appears that word does not mean what I think it means.

Say the guy slapping the name "welfare" on every social expenditure the government makes (including earned retirement by the military).

Maybe you should to extra distance and call it "Marxism". "Satanism" is also available.

Comment: Re:Or a simple way to fix it. (Score 1) 832

by crunchygranola (#48161941) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

If you make $10,000, you pay 17.2%--10% income and 7.2% social security, a total of $1,700/year. If we jack it up to 25%, you wind up paying $2,500/year, or $67/mo more. That's annoying if you're poor, and will cause a crisis; but the fact is the poor are largely consuming cigarettes and booze at a higher cost than that, and any general instability (a flat tire, or being scheduled for fewer hours at K-Mart) will cause the same problem.

That's right, if you take away nearly 10% of an already tiny income, and slice it into small enough chunks that turns it into pocket change. Heck $67 a month!? Well, really its only about 10 cents and hour! Not even a penny every five minutes! That's really nothing at all!

And besides - its just liquor and smokes money anyway! No matter how poor they are I know they still have too much because (I imagine) they are boozing and guzzling up a storm! Bad poor person for having vices in my imagination! They deserve to be punished for it!

And since they have tiny margin of stability they might topple from anyway, why not cut out another good chunk? After all if it is like a guy dangling by a rope - it is obviously stronger than it needs to be, and you can slice away a bit of it and he will still be fine (this can logically be applied indefinitely...).

Comment: Re:Why... (Score 1) 832

by crunchygranola (#48161779) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

....

Nobody is saying we shouldn't have ultra-rich people, and reducing the amount of poverty doesn't strike me as controversial.

Reducing poverty is not controversial. It is just that the rich feel that this should only be done by transfers of wealth from the Middle Class.

(And if their own burden drops a tad as "collateral damage" its just sweet candy that blamelessly fell into their pocket - seriously this is how Flat tax proponents effectively treat the matter.).

Comment: Re:Progressive Consumption Tax (Score 1) 832

by crunchygranola (#48161725) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

... high taxes on the poor drive up wages, which acts as an avoidable tax on the rich by way of reducing human resources--eliminating jobs--through process management)....

The "Trickle Up Theory"! OMG - I never thought I would see someone propose this counterpart of the "Trickle Down Theory" (except as a joke).

Yes indeed! The ideal system is don't tax the rich, but heavily tax the poor, and the exploding piles of cash at the top will motivate their owners to (avoidably!) shovel it out to the poor in salary!

Comment: Re:Let me get this right (Score 1) 832

by crunchygranola (#48161597) Attached to: Bill Gates: Piketty's Attack on Income Inequality Is Right

Funding government services and managing inequality are separate problems.

This is absolutely true. But...

That doesn't mean that you can't address both with a single solution, but it's a good idea to keep in mind that they are separate so you don't insist on sub-optimal solutions merely because they target both problems if better solutions address the problems separately.

Taxation is the only mechanism that I can identify that exists on a scale to address inequality.

Taxation to fund government operations is the one essential use of taxing power - it has to be done, and only bizarre reality-detached legislators really believe that most government functions can be defunded wholesale (but we have had quite a few of those in the House recently).

If you aren't taxing to fund some government function or service, then you talking about direct cash redistribution. I don't have a problem with that but, like a tax on capital, it is hard to see how it could ever be implemented in the face of the effective veto the rich have over overall U.S. taxing policy and their venomous hatred of even the mildly progressive overall tax system under which they are rapidly increasing in wealth.

Comment: Re:Consumer based economy. (Score 1) 212

by crunchygranola (#48152047) Attached to: Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too

...That's one thing that people often forget in these minimum wage/living wage debates: the employee still has to be productive enough to earn those wages. ...

No one is forgetting that, Coward, except maybe the corporations writing the paychecks.

Looking at the productivity vs compensation curves for Americans over the last 50 years there has been an enormous increase of average productivity (2.5 times increase) but virtually no corresponding in real average wages, and the real minimum wage has actually declined, and corporations like Walmart are making record profits ($127 billion for Walmart this year) so worker productivity is doing very, very well for the corporations. All of the evidence shows that corporations are squeezing workers compensation to pump money into the pockets of investors (mostly the already rich) and the executive suite, and have been doing so for two generations now. American workers at all levels, from the minimum-wage workers up are easily productive enough to have earned fat raises across the board.

Comment: Re:Common? (Score 1) 323

by crunchygranola (#48145991) Attached to: How English Beat German As the Language of Science

Except that it was never common to own slaves. Slave ownership was primarily among Southern aristocrats--your average white Southerner wasn't rich enough to afford one.

Would you agree with the statement "it is not common in the U.S. today to own an SUV"?

In suspect most people would disagree with this, and say that SUV ownership is common. The average number of vehicles per household is about 1.9, and the fraction of passenger vehicles on the road that are SUVs is 11%, so we can estimate that one in five households in the U.S. owns a SUV.

In the slave holding regions of the U.S. one in three families owned slaves! In the seven states of the lower south there were as many slaves as there were white people, under such conditions how could it possibly be that ownership was rare?

I submit that the statement "slave ownership was primarily among Southern aristocrats" is essentially a tautology - it is true only if you consider most anyone owning a slave an "aristocrat".

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright

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